For periods of time, there is a vast wasteland of good and thoughtful movies. That has been the case for the majority of 2013. Then, all of a sudden, Hollywood decides to group as series of wonderfully redeeming movies — as they have for about the last 6 weeks of the year. WebGuy and I have taken advantage of being empty nesters to go and see the movies we wanted.
There is so much less-than-praiseworthy movie-making. So much that Hollywood passes off as ”entertainment” nowadays is sometimes just mentally unhealthy voyeurism. So, I thought I’d share my favorite movies with you, and why, all seen within the last six weeks. I’m also going to list them as a Top Ten.
10. Christmas in Connecticut — why would a “grey movie” (as Robin used to call black and whites) from 1945 be on my new movie list? In the last couple of years, theaters began showing classic Christmas movies several weeks before and after Christmas. Last year, it was Meet Me in St. Louis — longtime family favorite. This year, we choose Christmas in Connecticut because it is WebGuy’s favorite Christmas movie. Even though they use a DVD to project it, it’s great fun to see a classic movie in the theater on the big screen with popcorn. Yes, you could see it in the privacy of your own home, on your comfy couch – but sometimes it’s fun to see it on a great big screen in the dark.
9. Gravity — I opted to see this one on the small screen, and non-3D, because I get incredibly motion sick. WebGuy saw it first, in 3D, and loved it, but knew I couldn’t watch it on a big screen. So we waited for it go to the dinky dollar movie. Sandra Bullock is pretty incredible.
8. The Hobbit, Desolation of Smaug — i *love* the Tolkien classics and Martin Freeman, not necessarily in that order. The #2 movies of a series are usually disjointed fillers that everyone complains about because the first movie is so great and the third wraps up the story, leaving the #2 to hang on the line by itself. I thought Desolation of Smaug was just as amazing as Lord of the Rings, Two Towers. Peter Jackson is a master at movie making. And did I mention that I love Martin Freeman?
7. Hunger Games, Catching Fire — Catching Fire is another example of the #2 movie being just as amazing as the first. Actually, it could almost be a stand alone movie. I love The Hunger Games books and the movies have been stellar — Catching Fire included.
6. Now You See Me — This one surprised me. I was riveted by the story and didn’t see “it” coming until the end. The visuals were fantastic and I felt as if I had been taken along for the ride. And the ride was fantastic. I’m looking forward to the sequel — yes, there will be one.
5. The Saratov Approach — This movie wrenched my heart right out of my chest. I saw it twice — once with two friends who had sons on missions, and once with Robin, who served for months in the #2 most dangerous city in the world, Acapulco — twice. The true story events of this movie are every missionary moms’ nightmare while their son (or daughter) is serving. I’m glad it had a happy ending, for real.
4. Frozen — My granddaughters, Cambria and Lucy, highly recommend this movie ; ). The Disney-telling of The Ice Queen, is, fabulous. Especially if you are a quilter who is easily inspired by wonderful flourishy graphics and color. Cambria wants me to make her an Elsa dress and her dad wants me to make him an appliqued quilt of the art designs. Another Disney instant classic.
3. Saving Mr. Banks — the first time I saw the trailer, I knew I would LOVE this movie. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney was brilliant! Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers made the real character look much more endearing than she was in real life. I want to see it again, in the theater, before it goes to DVD. The story of the Sherman Brothers part in Mary Poppins is inspirational — what geniuses.
2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — I just saw this movie today, and was blown away by artistry of this movie — visual and musical. It makes the original version with Danny Kaye look silly in comparison — but then, there is much of a social/generational difference going on when you compare the two. They’re hardly the same movie. The story had meat and surprises that were delightful. I loved seeing the LIFE covers and never knew about LIFE’s mission statement. I read many issues of LIFE magazine in the past and have saved copies of issues that are special to me. Ben Stiller is pretty dang talented. I loved the theme of the movie, which brought me to the place where I was inspired to write this blogpost. It’s more than just a movie — it’s an art piece.
1. The Book Thief– my #1 truly favorite movie of 2013, and almost ever. I loved the book and think that the movie is the best adaptation of a book that I have seen since The Princess Bride. I’ve seen it twice and I’d like to see it again. Perhaps it will be nominated for some Academy Award that will bring it back to the theater for a while. The casting, the acting, the scenes, all of it, all of it — is magnificent storytelling and movie-making. Geoffrey Rush as Hans was brilliant, as was Sophie Nelisse as Liesl. Their on-screen chemistry was so touching, as was Leisl’s interactions with Max. Just magnificent.
I have one Runner-Up that I didn’t see at the theater, but deserves a mention: The Way Way Back. I have to say that I loved Steve Carrell in Dan In Real Life (one of my all-time favorite movies), and I hated him in this movie — the sign of a good actor ; ) I wanted him to stop being the douche-bag he was in this movie. It was actually uncomfortable for me to watch him behaving like he did — so I wasn’t liking the movie until Sam Rockwell rescued the storyline. His character is the hero of the movie, and turned it from a trainwreck to something that you had to laugh at. Redemption is a good thing.
One movie I haven’t seen that I want to: Philomena. Dame Judi Dench as a woman looking for her child that she had put up for adoption. Luckily, it’s still at the theater.
well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my movie reviews. It’s okay if you don’t agree with me ; ) Sometimes it helps to see what people think of a movie before seeing it yourself and I have enjoyed reading other reviews — especially the ones I’ve read on blogs about Walter Mitty. The reviews made me want to go see it today.
if you haven’t seen Frozen yet, you need to go see it — if only for all of the Quilty inspiration! ; )